Charlene Kraft (1920-2007)
WICHITA — Charlene Kraft, 86, died Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at her home in Wichita. Mrs. Kraft, a former resident of the Ellsworth area, was born April 5, 1920, at Bennington to Charles Clayton and Olive Elsie Mondt Vogan. She was an antiques and crafts business owner. In 1940, she married Woodrow Frank Kraft. He preceded her in death. She also was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Clifford Vogan; and a sister, Maxine Weber. Survivors include a daughter, Claudette Key of Wichita; a sister, Dorothy Hughes of Washington; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. The funeral was Friday at Baker Funeral Home, Valley Center, Dr. J. Tal Tittsworth officiating. Memorials may be made to Hynes Memorial Hospice, Wichita.
Dwight H. Williams(1921-2007)
SYLVAN GROVE — Dwight H. Williams, 88, Sylvan Grove, died Saturday, March 31, 2007, at the Lincoln County Hospital. Mr. Williams was born Oct. 21, 1921, at Rozel to George Otto and Hazel Alice Cook Williams. During his life, he lived in Pawnee, Rush and Lincoln counties and worked as a farmer-stockman and brick mason. He was a 50-year member of the American Hereford Association and the Allied Union of Brick Layers and a 25-year member of Lincoln Masonic Lodge 154. He married his first wife, Fairy Smith, in 1941 at Rozel. His second wife was Gladys Bassett, who he married in 1988. She survives. Other survivors include a son, B.L. Roy Williams of Lincoln; two daughters, Linda Lou Polson of LaCrosse and Paula Grandy of Larned; a stepdaughter, Sara Spears of Lincoln; a stepson, James Bassett of Murkwonago, Wis.; a sister, Elaine Giles of Larned; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; seven stepgrandchildren; and seven step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, William D. Williams, and a brother, Lyle George Williams. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Foster Mortuary Chapel, Wilson, the Rev. Kaye Metzler officiating. Visitation is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today (Thursday) at the mortuary and from 8 a.m. until service time Friday. Memorials may be made to the Lincoln Masonic Lodge.
Irene Skidmore (1937-2007)
Irene Skidmore, 69, Ellsworth, died Monday, March 26, 2007, at the Ellsworth County Medical Center. Mrs. Skidmore was born May 26, 1937, in Buffalo, N.Y., to John and Charlotte Kuflack Tokar. She was graduated from the University of Buffalo, N.Y., and Princeton Theological Seminary. She was a registered occupational therapist and an ordained Presbyterian minister. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She married William M. Skidmore May 19, 1973, at Maryland. They moved to Ellsworth in 1999 from North Carolina. He died in 2002. She also was preceded in death by a sister, Joan Tokar Chambers. Survivors include two sisters, Dorothy Sabo of West Seneca, N.Y., and Vera Harden of Elma, N.Y.; a brother, John Tokar of Tillamook, Ore., and a stepdaughter, Kate Doetzl of Kansas City, Mo. The memorial service is at 10 a.m. today (Thursday) at the Presbyterian Church, Pastor Nathan Loudon officiating. Inurnment is at 2 p.m. at Christ Cathedral, Salina, with the Rt. Rev. James Adams. Memorials may be made to Heifer International. Parsons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Christena E. Howard (1919-2007)
IOLA — Christena E. Howard, 87, died Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at the Allen County Hospital in Iola. Mrs. Howard was born Dec. 13, 1919, in Osborne County near Fairport, to Jerome E. and Dora Ella Williams Gordon. She grew up in the Fairport and Wilson areas. Following her graduation from Wilson High School in 1938, Mrs. Howard attended St. Rose School of Nursing in Great Bend, where she graduated in 1941. In 1944, she graduated from St. Francis Hospital School for Nursing Anesthetists in Peoria, Ill. She worked for 40 years as a certified registered nurse anesthetist at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Coffey County Hospital in Burlington, and Anderson County Hospital in Garnett. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Madison and a lifetime member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She married Rex E. Howard in Wellington Dec. 7, 1946. The couple made their home on a ranch near Madison for 20 years before retiring. They moved to Iola about five years ago. The Howards celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in December. Mr. Howard died Feb. 9, 2007. Mrs. Howard is also preceded in death by a son, Michael E. Howard; 11 siblings and five half-siblings. Survivors include a son, John Howard of Joplin, Mo.; a daughter-in-law, Nancy Howard of Great Bend; and five grandchildren. Graveside services were March 24 at Wilson Cemetery, Rev. Eva Bray officiating. Memorials are suggested to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation (AANA Foundation). Waugh-Yokum and Friskel Memorial Chapel in Iola was in charge of the arrangements.
Karma Frees (1958-2007)
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A memorial service for Karma Frees, 48, Las Cruces, N.M., will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at the St. Peter Lutheran Church, Holyrood, Pastor John Sharp officiating. Burial will be in the St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery. Mrs. Frees was born July 24, 1958, at Ellsworth to Eugene and LorRetta Keyser Meyer. She died March 9, 2007, at her residence. Memorials may be made to the Kelsi Frees Educational Fund. Parsons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Gladys Mae Keith (1917-2007)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Gladys Mae Keith, 89, died Saturday, March 20, 2007. Mrs. Keith was born June 4, 1917, in Lincoln County, Kan., to Emil and Albina Habbart Vanek. She was a 1935 graduate of Wilson, Kan., High School and in 1938 graduated as a registered nurse from St. John’s Hospital, Salina, Kan. She married Capt. LeRoy W. “Pete” Keith USN retired in Norfolk, Va., in 1941. After moving 20 years with the Navy, they settle in St. Louis. Capt. Keith died in 1982. Survivors include a son, Robert D. Keith; a daughter, Jane A. Barton; a sister, Betty Belton; and five grandchildren. Burial was March 14 in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lang Memorial Library, Wilson, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Verona M. Siemsen (1933-2007)
Verona M. Siemsen, 73, Ellsworth, died Monday, March 19, 2007, at the Ellsworth County Medical Center. Mrs. Siemsen was born May 26, 1933, at Sylvan Grove to Walter Peterman and Bertha Bloecker Peterman. She was a homemaker and nurse’s aid at the Ellsworth hospital and Good Samaritan Retirement Village. She was a member of Ladies Aid, the Ellsworth American Legion Auxiliary and the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ellsworth. She married Helmer F. Siemsen Oct. 26, 1955, in Ellsworth. He died Sept. 5, 2005. Survivors include two sons, Wayne Siemsen of Fort Worth, Texas, and David Siemsen of Salina; three daughters, May Anderson of Salina, Sandra McCoy of Mulvane and Linda Webber of Grand Junction, Colo.; a brother, Raymond Peterman of Salina; and a sister, Ruth Bigge of Salina; 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The funeral was Wednesday at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ellsworth, Pastor Dennis Dufon officiating. Burial was in the Ellsworth Memorial Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Immanuel Lutheran Church or the Good Samaritan Retirement Village, both of Ellsworth. Parsons Funeral Home, Ellsworth, was in charge of the arrangements.
Jay Bernard Thielen (1940-2007)
DORRANCE — Jay Bernard Thielen, 66, died Friday, March 9, 2007, at his home in Dorrance. Mr. Thielen was born July 23, 1940. He was a graduate of Dorrance High School and Fort Hays State University and a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church. He was a retired farmer. Mr. Thielen served for four years in the U.S. Air Force and was a lifetime member of the American Legion. He served as the Kansas State Department Commander from 1978-1979. In addition, he is the only Past Department Commander from Kansas to also serve as Detachment Commander for the Sons of the American Legion. He served the Sixth District as a Commander, Vice Commander, and Judge Advocate and also on numerous District and Department Committees and was member of the Department Sons of the American Legion Advisory Committee at the time of his passing. Mr. Thielen was directly responsible for the establishment of numerous Sons of the American charters and was a founding member of the “O-Poop-Pah-Doo” an honorary social club that meets during the annual American Legion Leadership College. On May 20, 2006, Mr. Thielen was honored by Sons of the American Legion, Detachment of Kansas, for the promotion of the programs and principles of the SAL over the past 30 years. Survivors include his brother, Ronald J. Thielen of Higley, Ariz.; a sister, Kay Robinson of Hoisington; and two nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bernard and Josephine Thielen, who lived in Dorrance. The funeral was March 14 at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Dorrance Foster Mortuary, Wilson, was in charge of arrangements.
Helen G. Whitcher (1909-2007)
SALIDA, Colo. — Helen G. Whitcher, 97, died Friday, March 16, 2007, at the Columbine Manor Care Center, Salida, Colo. Mrs. Whitcher was born July 27, 1909, at Pine Bluffs, Wyo., to Frederick Earl and Evelyn Johnson Mathias. She lived in Ellsworth from 1948 to 1983, in McPherson until 1996 and then in Salida and Buena Cista, Colo. She was a member of the American Association of Retired Persons. She married Otis Whitcher Feb. 18, 1930, in Quenomo, Kan. He died in 1990. She also was preceded in death by two sons, Donald and Hubert Whitcher, and two brothers, Ralph and Frederick Earl Mathias. Survivors include two daughters, Carol L. Rodebaugh of Buena Vista and Beverly Ward of Padre Island, Texas; two sons, Robert of Corder, Mo., and Gerald of Troup, Texas; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Stockham Family Funeral Home, the Rev. Ken Busse officiating. Burial will be in McPherson Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Stockham Family Funeral Home, McPherson. Family members will be present from 6 to 8 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Columbine Manor Care Center in care of the funeral home.
Melba N. Whitmer (1924-2007)
WILSON — Melba N. Whitmer, 82, Wilson, died Wednesday, March 14, 2007, at the Golden Living Center. Mrs. Whitmer was born May 5, 1924, at Westfall to Beatrice J. Kindlesparger. She was a lifetime resident of the Lincoln-Wilson area, where she was a homemaker and production worker at Eschbaugh Advertising. She was a member of the Wilson United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She married Jesse E. Whitmer June 27, 1943, at Wilson. He died in 1992. She also was preceded in death by four grandchildren. Survivors include three daughters, Patty Miller and Loretta Small, both of Wilson, and Jeanette Schendel of Overland Park; four sons, Terry, Robert and Nelson, all of Wilson, and Leroy of Halstead; 16 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; four step great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild. The funeral was Saturday at the Wilson United Methodist Church, Pastor Kris Bair officiating. Burial was in Wilson City Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the church or the Golden Living Center. Foster Mortuary, Wilson, was in charge of arrangements.
Lester Katzenmeier (1915-2007)
Lester Katzenmeier, 91, Ellsworth, died Saturday, March 10, 2007, at the Good Samaritan Retirement Village. Mr. Katzenmeier was born June 30, 1915, in Ellsworth County to Louis and Mary Nienke Katzenmeier. He was a lifetime resident of the Ellsworth area, where he was a farmer-stockman and also worked for Northern Natural Gas and Farmers and Ranchers Sale Barn. He was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church. He married Helen Martha Clara Pflughoeft May 15, 1938, at Ellsworth. She died in 1995. He also was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert and Ernest. Survivors include a son, Harvey Katzenmeier of Kansas City, Mo.; three daughters, Linda Richards and Lois Pflughoeft, both of Ellsworth, and Carol Biggs of Seattle, Wash.; two brothers, Lewis Katzenmeier of Bellingham, Wash., and Amos Katzenmeier of Ellsworth; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. The memorial service was at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pastor Dennis Dufon officiating. There was a private family interment at Ellsworth Memorial Cemetery prior to the service. Memorials may be made to the church, Ellsworth Good Samaritan Village or Hospice of Salina. Parsons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Wendell Ray Keller (1959-2007)
HAYS — Wendell Ray Keller, 47, died Thursday, March 8, 2007, at his home in Hays. Mr. Keller was born July 23, 1959, in Omaha, Neb., to Oscar Branche Keller and Patricia Ann Baker Gier. He was a graduate of Wilson High School and Barton County Community College, where he received his paramedic’s degree. He was a shift captain for Ellis County EMS for the past two years, serving the communities of Ellis, Hays and Victoria as a paramedic for the past 19 years. He also worked as a flight paramedic for EagleMed. He attended Liberty Fellowship Church and was a member of the Hays City Gun Club. He married Landy Quenzer Sept. 25, 1993. She survives. Other survivors include: four children, Amber Hernandez and Ashley Keller, both of Ellis, and Mathew Meyers and Angela Keller, both of Hays; a brother, Randy Ehrlich of Russell; three sisters, Kelly Pasek and Shelly Whitmer, both of Dorrance, and Shani Bricker of Russell; his stepfather, Darrell Ehrlich of Haven; his grandmother, Eunice Ehrlich of Wilson; and five grandchildren. The funeral was Tuesday at the Beach Schmidt Performing Arts Center, Fort Hays State University. Burial was in Mt. Allen Cemetery, Hays. Memorials may be made to his grandchildren’s education fund in care of Hays Memorial Chapel.
Karma Frees (1958-2007)
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Karma Frees, 48, died Friday, March 9, 2007, at her home in Las Cruces. She was born July 24, 1958, at Ellsworth, Kan., to Eugene and LorRetta Keyser Meyer. She was a homemaker and a former resident of Holyrood, Kan., where she attended the St. Peter Lutheran Church. Survivors include three daughters, Jayme Peterson of Salina, Kari Frees of Topeka and Kelsi Frees of Holyrood; a son, Bradley Frees of Hutchinson; her father, Eugene Meyer of Tempe, Ariz.; three sisters, Gina Bouk of Phoenix, Ariz., Debbie Lozano of Las Cruces and Doreen Schultz of Hoisington; and three grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her mother and a brother, Mel Meyer. A memorial service is pending. Inurnment was in the St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Kelsi Frees Educational Fund. Parsons Funeral Home, Ellsworth, is in charge of arrangements.
Margaret F. Soukup (1910-2007)
WILSON — Margaret F. Soukup, 96, died Thursday, March 8, 2007, at her home in Wilson. Mrs. Soukup was born Sept. 5, 1910, at Wilson to James E. and Hannah Driscoll Zamrzla. She was a lifetime resident of the area and a schoolteacher. She also was a member of the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church and the Altar Society. She married Arthur C. Soukup in 1972 in Kansas City, Mo. He died in 1991. Survivors include several nieces and nephews. The funeral was Monday at the St. Wenceslaus Church, Father David Metz officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery. Foster Mortuary was in charge of arrangements.
Joseph L. Gray (1923-2007)
ST. JOSEPH — Joseph L. Gray, 83, St. Joseph, Mo., died Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. Mr. Gray was born June 4, 1923, at Arcadia, Kan. He served as an officer in the United States Navy during World War II, returning to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Kansas. He received a Master’s Degree in education from Pittsburgh State University. He taught school and coached in Kansas schools, later becoming superintendent of schools for the Atwood and Solomon school districts. He was a member of the Wyatt Park Baptist Church, Lions Club, Rotary International, Mason, Shriner, Kansas State Teachers Association and the Kansas and National associations of school administrators. Survivors include four children, Becky Kruger of Kansas City, Mo., Jane Cathcart of St. Joseph, Barbara Parks of Ellsworth and Damon Gray of Bellingham, Wash.; a sister, Willa Rae Patton of Gainesville, Ga.; 14 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lucille Margaret Drown Gray; his parents, Lawrence Orr and Opal Dosha Brown Gray; and two brothers, Rollin and Jack Gray. The funeral was Feb. 27 at the Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. Burial was in Memorial Park Cemetery with military honors. Memorials may be made to the St. Judes Hospital, Kendallwood Hospice or the Noyes Home for Children.
Edith L. Herrin (1921-2007)
WICHITA — Edith L. Herrin, 85, Wichita, died Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2007. Mrs. Herrin was born May 21, 1921, in Ellsworth County to George and Clara Erdtmann. She was a homemaker who during World War II managed the Duckwall Store at Caldwell. Survivors include a daughter, Mary Herrin of Wichita. She was preceded in death by her husband, Glenn; two sisters; and two brothers. There was a private funeral service arranged by Lakeview Funeral Home, Wichita. Memorials may be made to the WSU Foundation or Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Ida B. Novak (1919-2007)
Ida B. Novak, 87, Ellsworth, died Thursday, March 1, 2007, at the Ellsworth County Medical Center. Mrs. Novak was born Aug. 27, 1919, at Henrietta, Okla. She was a long-time resident of Ellsworth. She was a retired candlemaker, the owner of Ida’s Candlebarn, and she also belonged to the International Guild of Candle Artisans, of which she was a former national president. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church. She married Milo Novak July 17, 1940. They were divorced in 1992. He died Jan. 27, 1998. Survivors include a daughter, Patricia Svaty, and her husband, Ron, of Ellsworth; a son, Michael Novak, and his wife, Kathy, of Dallas, Texas; five granddaughters, Tammy and her husband, Greg Edson, of Austin, Texas, Rebecca Svaty of Topeka, Jennifer Novak of Plano, Texas, Kimberly Marsh and husband, Pete, of Grand Island, Neb., and Shelly McDonald and her husband, Steve, of Topeka; two step granddaughters, Merry Kelley of Dallas, and Denise Bousquet and her husband, Garrick, of Forney, Texas; three great-grandchildren in Grand Island; and four step great-grandchildren, three in Topeka and one in Forney. A sister, Ola, of Phoenix, Ariz., also survives. Mrs. Novak was preceded in death by a daughter, Dawna Marie; 10 brothers; and three sisters. The funeral was Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Nathan Loudon officiating. Burial was in Ellsworth Memorial Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Good Samaritan Retirement Village, Ellsworth. Parsons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Major Gen. Harold Raymond Vague (1920-2007)
Major Gen. Harold R. Vague, 86, former judge advocate general of the U.S. Air Force, died Monday, Feb. 19, 2007. Gen. Vague was born March 1, 1920, at Ellsworth to Raymond and Gertrude Shannon Vague. He was graduated from Ellsworth High School, leaving the state at age 17 to attend the University of Colorado, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942. He entered active military service the same year, his first year of law school. During World War II, Gen. Vague served as a B-17 aircraft navigator in England, flying 25 combat missions in the 388 Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force. He later served with the 27th Air Transport Group in England and France, returning to the United States in 1946 after 34 months of overseas service. He returned to law school at the University of Colorado, where he was graduated in 1949 with a law degree. While in law school, he married Virginia McCandless of Portland, Colo. In 1955, he was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where he became a member of the founding faculty as an associate professor of law. He remained at the academy until 1959, serving as both associate professor and assistant staff judge advocate. After tours of duty in Guam, Washington, D.C., California and Hawaii, Gen. Vague returned to U.S. Air Force headquarters in 1971 to assume the duties of assistant judge advocate general. He received a presidential appointment to the job of judge advocate general in 1973, a post he retained until his retirement in 1977. During his tenure, Gen. Vague presided over a renovation of the military justice system, overseeing the creating of the innovative department of the Area Defense Counsel, integrating enlisted and reserve components into the department, pushing for more professional training and ushering in the use of computer technology in management and legal research. His military decorations and awards include: the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster. Following his retirement, Gen. Vague opened a law practice in Denver, where he practiced civil and criminal law for 15 years. In 1993, he moved to Riverside, Calif., to be near his children, Russell Vague and Michele LaBerge. He also is survived by his wife, Virginia; and a sister, Donna Ray of Iowa.
Rose M. Warta (1913-2007)
Rose M. Warta, 93, died Sunday, March 4, 2007, at the Kaye Pogue Hospice Center, Salina. Mrs. Warta was born May 9, 1913, in Ellsworth County to Joseph and Rose Katherine Fait Jezek. She was a lifetime resident of the Ellsworth area, where she retired from Independent Salt Co., Kanopolis, in 1972. She was a member of the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and the Altar Society. She married Louis J. Warta May 12, 1932, at Ellsworth. He died in 1987. She also was preceded in death by a daughter, Lila Young, in 1979. Survivors include two grandchildren, Diana Nickel of Alva, Okla., and Stephen Young of Salina; and seven great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Ellsworth Cemetery, Father Daniel Scheetz officiating. Memorials may be made to the church in lieu of flowers. Parsons Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Edith L. Herrin (1921-2007)
WICHITA — Edith L. Herrin, 95, Wichita, died Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2007. Mrs. Herrin was born May 21, 1921, in Ellsworth County to George and Clara Erdtmann. She was a homemaker who during World War II managed the Duckwall Store at Caldwell. Survivors include a daughter, Mary Herrin of Wichita. She was preceded in death by her husband, Glenn; two sisters; and two brothers. There was a private funeral service arranged by Lakeview Funeral Home, Wichita. Memorials may be made to the WSU Foundation or Immanuel Lutheran Church.
Hubertine Mog (1921-2007)
WILSON — Hubertine Mog, 85, died Monday, Feb. 26, 2007, at the Pinnacle Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Salina. Miss Mog was born Aug. 24, 1921, in Noble Township, Ellsworth County, to Frederick and Elizabeth Mog. She lived most of her life in Kansas and California, where she taught in Los Angeles. She was a member of the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Ellsworth. Survivors include three sisters, Betty Rae Webb of Powell, Wyo., Lee Kuehling of Milwaukee, Wis., and Suzanne Kelly of Green Valley, Ariz.; and two brothers, Frederick Mog of Wilson and Francis Mog of Littleton, Colo. She was preceded in death by a sister, Clare Soukup, and a brother, John Mog. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at the St. Bernard’s Church, Father Daniel Scheetz officiating. Interment will be in Ellsworth Memorial Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the church. Parsons Funeral Home, Ellsworth, was in charge of arrangements.